Elizabeth Hogan, PhD, associate professor of biology, is a developmental neurobiologist who combines her love of research with her love of teaching. She works closely with undergraduate students to learn more about nerve cell growth. During development and repair of the nervous system, nerve cells must grow a cellular process, called an axon, to reach and communicate with a specific target cell.
Dr. Hogan and Thomas (T.J.) Krzystek ’15 investigated whether a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, can affect nerve cell growth. Their research, which was presented by T.J. at the 2015 American Society for Cell Biology, showed that resveratrol enhanced nerve cell growth by targeting a structure within a part of the nerve called the growth cone, found at the tip of the growing nerve.
Future research in Dr. Hogan’s lab aims to evaluate whether resveratrol can be used to protect nerve cells from neurotoxins produced during Alzheimer’s disease. Inspired by his research project, T.J. will be attending a graduate PhD program beginning fall 2016 to pursue his passion for neuroscience research.
Pictured above: A microscopic image of a growth cone, found at the end of a growing nerve cell (Red = F-actin, Green = microtubules).
Submitted by: Sara Morris, associate vice president, academic affairs